I can't think of a more fitting day to share my recent eco-adventures with you than on Earth Day. Just a few weeks ago, I spent an idyllic week in Tulum, Mexico on a yoga retreat with one of my favorite teachers (and people), Carissa Ciuca of The Breathing Room, a Portland, Maine based yoga studio.
On this retreat, we truly were "off the grid," as there are no power lines in this area of Mexico, and most hotels don't even have electricity 24/7 unless they run their own generators. In our house, electricity came on at 5 p.m. and shut off around 10 or 11 pm each night, with wifi and hot water for showers running on solar chargers.
Since our house was right on the beach (as most places are), we had cool breezes day in and day out, and I never did find a restaurant that wasn't open air. From the beach to a nearby restaurant or back to the house to grab a book, there was little need for shoes, no need for stress, and certainly no need for A/C (of which there is none).
This was Carissa's third retreat and her second in Tulum, and she has truly mastered the art. From the healthy meals included in my package to the varied morning and evening yoga sessions; from the 90 minute massage to the mud meditation that closed the trip, I came away feeling relaxed and renewed from the inside out. I felt whole, calm, and very sad to be leaving.
I loved the outer spaces of the house we stayed in-- no need for indoor sinks or seating areas when the sun is so warm and the breezes so strong.
The sun-soaked seating area outside my room.
The view from almost anywhere on the beach was breathtaking, but the view (above) from the restaurant-hotel next door was my absolute favorite.
As if the trip could not be made more perfect, we happened to be staying almost directly across the street from Hartwood (pictured above), which Food + Wine magazine names as one of the top 100 restaurants in the world, and for good reason. Among many highlights, I had the best grilled octopus dish I've ever had, one of the most interesting (and spicy!) cactus hors d'hoervres I've ever tasted, and incredibly fresh juices at this foodie haven. It's likely due to the fresh, local ingredients used by owner Eric Werner, who drives hours (and sometimes hikes) to purchase foods from neighboring farms where the simple system of agriculture used by the Maya people 6,000 years ago is still practiced. As the New York Times further explained last month:
"At Hartwood there are no stoves, no convection ovens, no deep fryers: only wood fire to cook with. The kitchen is open to the elements, an expanse of poured concrete with work tables, picnic coolers full of ice and whole fish, and baskets of fruit. All the kitchen prep is done with knives and a single appliance (a blender, powered by the restaurant’s small generator)..."
The trip was truly one that I'll never forget, and I can't wait to see where Carissa will lead her next retreat. I wouldn't miss it for the world...
WEARING: Ace & Jig shirt, made under fair labor conditions in India (learn more about them HERE); Mango Tree Bangle (sustainable wood); Jeans are old, similar HERE and HERE, made in USA. PHOTOGRAPHY & STYLING by Rachel Mlinarchik and Sarah Moberg.
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